At the end of last year I had a bit of a run of writing short stories for anthologies, and over the past week two of the finished books arrived on my doorstep. They’re beautifully put together, and it’s great to be involved in collections that have had such clear and exciting concepts behind them.
When I first started writing short stories I joined an online group that set challenges, often in the form of prompts. There were pictures or piece of music, or five very different items to choose from (although I used to like trying to get all the items in, which led to some pretty strange stories), and the results would always be very different in style and tone, and so much fun to write and read. I think that’s why I enjoy writing for publications that set one element firmly in place and then encourage the writer’s imagination to take a leap from there. Both Shallow Creek and Disturbing the Beast did that, to great results.
Storgy’s Shallow Creek is a fictional town with a very dark history. I was given a character and a location and told to go write something. The Alteration popped up. It’s about how places can become focal points for terrible stories, the kind that get in your head and change you. I had a blast writing it.
Boudicca Press’ Disturbing the Beast is filled with weird stories written about the experience of being a woman. With that in mind, I ended up writing a mummy’s curse sort of story, which I had always wanted to do. It’s called Wrapped, of course. I thought it was going to be a bit of fun but it took quite a serious turn in the middle and became a story about something that means a lot to me. So that was a surprise, but hopefully it’s a good surprise for the reader.
There are some more stories I’ve written from prompts to be published in anthologies later this year, but I’m not really allowed to say much about them yet. I can say that one of them will be my 100th published short story, which seems unbelievable. I had to go away and count them, but yes, Wrapped is number 98 and The Alteration is number 99. The next short story I have published will be number 100.
I’ll have to celebrate somehow. I’ll have a think about it.